Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Love IS a Battlefield

Wow, so this whole blog writing everyday thing is going really well. Yikes. The next few weeks may not go much better given the way things have gone so far this summer. When did summer get so hectic? Anyways, without further ado:

There's a fairly new song out there right now by Jordin Sparks: the season 6 winner of American Idol. The song is called "Battlefield," and is currently all over the radio. Here is one chorus of the song:

"I never meant to start a war
You know, I never wanna hurt you
Don’t even know what we’re fighting for
Why does love always feel like a battlefield, a battlefield, a battlefield"

Ok, now let's stop for a second to think if this reminds us of anything. Maybe a song that came out quite a while ago but is still very, very popular. Wait for it...No? The second I heard the line: "Why does love always feel like a battlefield," my jaw dropped. Here's a sampling from the chorus of the song that this one feels just a little too similar to:

"We are young, heartache to heartache we stand
No promises, no demands
Love Is A Battlefield
We are strong, no one can tell us we're wrong
Searchin' our hearts for so long, both of us knowing
Love Is A Battlefield"

The song above is, of course, the 1983 hit from Pat Benatar: "Love is a Battlefield." A few things struck me when I heard the Jordin Sparks song. One: Why would the songwriters go near using the word "battlefield" anywhere in the vicinity of the word "love"? I'm gonna go out on a limb and say I'm probably not the only one who thinks of Pat Benatar every time I hear the new song. The rest of the song's lyrics are pretty typical for modern day pop, maybe even a little above the average pop song today. But "why does love always feel like a battlefield"? We had to go there?

Here's my biggest problem with the song (besides the total knockoff of "Love is a Battlefield): how unconvincing it is. When you listen to "Love is a Battlefield," what's the first thing that strikes you? Let's start with the title: Love IS a Battlefield. It's not just a title, it's a statement made with total conviction. There's no doubt in your mind when you're listening to that song: Pat Benatar is serious about this one. It's not just one of the most popular songs of the 80s, it's a nod in the direction of every love torn soul.

In some respects, Sparks' effort is also geared towards people going through difficult times in their love lives. However, "why does love always feel like a battlefield," feels more like a teen crying to her mom than a woman standing up for lovesick women everywhere. There's absolutely no conviction behind it. For further proof check out the difference between Sparks' video (here) and Benatar's (here). The main problem I have with the Sparks' song is that the songwriters had to know that comparisons were going to be made between their song and Benatar's. However, rather than giving a nod to Benatar, they took it the complete opposite direction. The line "don't even know what we're fighting for" pretty much sums it up. If you don't know what you're fighting for, why write a song about it? Benatar's song leaves no doubt in the listener's mind that she knows exactly what she's fighting for, while Sparks' song is pretty much just melancholy indifference. Instead of empowerment, the songwriters for "Battlefield" took the direction of self pity, which is a disgrace to one of the most famous love ballads ever written. Sparks is a talented singer and I doubt that this song will be the last we hear of her. However, I think it's better she (and her songwriters) leave the battles to the singers who know what they're fighting for.

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